Powerful, long-lasting and incredibly good at, well, everything, the Dyson Cyclone V10 is capable of acting as the only vacuum cleaner you need to keep your house tidy. Since the launch of the V11, the V10 is now better value, so could well be the better choice for many people.
- Incredible suction and better cleaning than mains-powered machines
- Brilliantly designed tools
- Excellent battery life
- Floorheads clean right up to edge
- Great for stairs and pet homes
- Good size bin with easy emptying
- Still only one battery
- Not quiet on Max mode
- Not cheap
- Review Price: £449.99
- 60 mins / 23 mins / 8 mins run times; 3.5hr charge time
- Three powered floor heads
- Three detail tools
- Excellent filtration
- Wall dock supplied
As corded cleaners get power-capped by legislation, and battery models get better and better, there will be a tipping point when cordless is best. That time is right now says Dyson with the launch of its Cyclone V10 cordless. And, the company is so confident that it will no longer be developing any new full-size plug-in vacuum cleaners.
That’s a bold statement, but one that’s proved with the performance of this vacuum. In fact, it’s so good that we didn’t want to turn to a corded cleaner once with this model. Clearly, the time of the plug-in vacuum is over and cordless vacuums have moved from being for convenience only, into being the best you can buy.
Cleaning performance on any surface is amazing, the ergonomics are excellent, the tools outstanding and run times formidable on any setting. Yes, we would still like to see a swappable battery, but Dyson’s V10 bests many mains powered models for sheer cleaning performance, usability and convenience.
The only minor spanner in the works is the launch of the V11, which improves on the design here and boosts battery life, too.
Design and features – The Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute has an impressive array of accessories
- Lots of accessories in the box to make tackling any job easy
- Simple controls, although the need to squeeze the trigger constantly might not be ideal for everyone
- Large bin that’s easy to empty
In a radical departure from previous V-series cordless cleaners, the Cyclone V10 has received a major design overhaul. Key changes are the orientation of the cyclone and bin, a new motor, new battery and redesigned impeller for improved air-flow through the machine.
The new cyclone and bin assembly has been flipped around from its vertical, underslung position. It is now horizontal and in-line with the motor. It bigger than previous V-series bins too, some 40% larger than the Dyson V8, for example. That gives it superb dust capacity for a cordless cleaner.
The visual effect is striking too. Am I the only one thinking that the V10 looks like a fantasy blaster pistol from a Sci-Fi computer game? Jackie took a more pragmatic view to the industrial design. She immediately asked if putting the bin further out front would make the cleaner feel more nose heavy in the hand?
Certainly, the V10 won’t stand up on its own to charge. Place it on the flat battery pack beneath the pistol grip and it falls forward. All previous V-series incarnations would stand up. If you keep your cleaner on a shelf rather than in the wall dock, that will mean it needs leaning over and will take up marginally more space.
There is one improvement over previous V-series cleaners, though: a rubber pad on the bottom of the cleaner. With Cyclone V10, you can now stand the vacuum up vertically, leaning it on a wall, without danger that the whole thing will slip over.
In the hand, the increased nose-weight effect was marginal and the weight is low. It looks larger and slightly unwieldy but, naked of tools, the V10 is almost the same weight as a V8 at 1.65kg. Fully fitted with tube and the Direct Drive head it weighs in at a feather-weigh 2.6kg. Even overhead cobweb busting is not a physical chore.
The big change you can’t see is the new motor. Building on Dyson’s innovative digital motor, the new V10 engine is 20% lighter and 20% more powerful than the unit fitted to the V8. At full gas, it spins at an incredible 125,000rpm. Combined with a redesigned fan impeller and new straight-through air path, the result is a whole lot more suck.
Stored power has been beefed up to cope. The V10 pack is seven Nickel-Cobalt-Aluminium (NCA) cells that run at 25.2V and 525Watts. The V8’s six-cell pack runs at 21.6V and 400Watts. NCA battery technology is more expensive than basic Lithium-Ion chemistry cells, but it holds a lot more energy for its size and has a very good lifespan.
The sprung trigger on/off switch and top-mounted slide power control have a familiar V-series family feel. Here however we get three stage power for the first time on a Dyson cordless. Suction mode one will give you run times of over an hour. The mid setting trades run time for extra suck. The Max position drives the motor to its full 125,000rpm and produces quite frankly amazing suction power. Certainly, as much or even more than many 750watt mains powered cleaners we have tested. Run time though is rather compressed in this mode… just 8 minutes.
The re-jigging of the bin and cyclone orientation have required a change in the filtration system too. The core filter in the centre of the bin on previous models has gone in favour of a much bigger rear filter. Dyson suggests this will capture 99.97% of allergens as small as 0.3 microns. That would release cleaner air than was floating around your room before vacuuming. The filter twists off and is fully washable. The machine won’t run unless the filter is in place.
Emptying the bin is subtly different too. A plastic blade-like lever underneath unlatched the container and pushing it forward slides the whole bin away from the body. A few centimetres out and the bin flap opens automatically. If you need to dig deep to extract stuck debris like hair-balls, a small button on the slide allows the bin to pull away from the cleaner completely.
The V10 empties and comes apart easy enough, but that blade-like lever gave us some concern. It’s not overly comfortable to put pressure on, and it flexed alarmingly under pressure. That is quite unlike the robust and more ‘ergonomic’ shaped clips and latches we have come to expect from Dyson. That said, it is plenty strong enough. I gave it full beans to see if I could break it in normal use… and couldn’t.
The business-end of V10 proceedings is a port right in the middle of the front of the bin. All of the supplied tools will clip directly to this or with the bright orange extension tube in between. Power runs down the tube to feed the separate DC motors in any of the three powered floorheads supplied with this model.
Due to the bin/port design, you must disconnect the tube or tools to empty the bin. It’s not a big issue given the ease with which that can be achieved, but it is a little more of a faff than on previous V-series units.
Dyson’s battery is a flat pack under the pistol-grip handle. Unlike a growing number of competitors, the battery is a permanent attachment to the cleaner. You must charge the cleaner rather than just the battery. Nor can you buy a second battery to swap out for an extended cleaning session.
Still, with 65mins maximum runtime and over 23mins on the V10’s stellar suction mode 2 setting with a floorhead attached, how much cleaning do you really want to do in one go?
Being the middle model in the V10 line up (the V10 Animal is below, the V10 Total Clean above) the Absolute V10 is bristling with some of Dyson’s best and well-proven tools. You get three floorheads, all with motorised brush bars, three detail tools, an extension tube and wall-mounted charging dock with tools storage. OK, the dock does only hold two tools, so the other four will have to find a home elsewhere.
Headlining at the tools roster is Dyson’s Direct Drive floorhead. This good size unit features a near full-width brush bar with dual stiffness carbon and nylon bristles. These are designed to handle different sized dirt particles on both carpets and hard floors. Front rollers, soft felt pads and a rear silicon-rubber blade keep it moving freely and the neck has full motion tilt and pivot action. A simply coin-turn clip on the side releases the brush bar for easy cleaning.
Dyson seems to have dropped the ‘Fluffy’ moniker for its velvet-flocked soft roller cleaner head. While we miss the funkiest tool name in floorcare, the soft brush’s outstanding ability to draw-in and pick up dirt, especially on hard floors, remains unchanged. We have always found this floorhead near unbeatable for cleaning hard floors as it leaves the surface buffed. It, too, comes apart for ease of cleaning.
The Dyson Mini Motorised tool similarly has a brush bar that is powered by its own built-in motor. This tool is designed for smaller areas like stairs, upholstery and, in our case, the dog’s beds. Its lack of articulating neck slightly limits its manoeuvrability, but its tilting floorplate helps to keep the brush flat on the surface.
The three non-powered tools include a good-sized soft dusting brush and a two-in-one wide nozzle tool / stiffer bristle brush. The line-up is complete with Dyson’s standard issue crevice tool. It’s a good length and size, and features side vents that help resist the nozzle sucking onto surfaces.
The metal extension tube is 65cm in length. It feels more than up to the task of serious cleaning without bending or flexing. As we have come to expect from the V-series cleaners, all of the tool clips are smooth, robust and easy to use. Parts clip together faultlessly and come apart just as easy.
Performance – The Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute can do the job of a plug-in cleaner
- Excellent suction means top quality cleaning on any surface
- Battery life is brilliant, with the cleaner doing well on its Eco mode
- Comparatively quiet – this cleaner isn’t annoying to use
From flat the Cyclone V10 takes around 3.5 hours to charge fully. Three blue LEDs pulse along the side of the battery pack as it charges. They go out when it is good to go. As you use the machine, the LEDs fully light up and go out as charge depletes. There is also a handy illuminated indicators for blockages and a dirty filter.
The three power positions reflect a step-change in the V-series. The longest running suction mode 1 setting allows the V10 to claim a run time of one hour with only a detail tool attached. We managed 1hour and 5minutes – the longest run time we have recorded from a single battery cordless cleaner. Would a powered floorhead be effective with such low suction power though? Surprisingly, on hard floors… yes!
At the other end of the runtime spectrum, the Max power mode and a powered floorhead suck power from that battery as effectively as dirt is sucked form the floor. Several real-world tests got the same run-time result at a few seconds over the 8-minute mark. At the end of such sessions, the battery pack itself was noticeably toasty warm to the touch.
Are those figures enough for you to replace your mains powered cleaner for good? Well, possibly. The trigger switch means you tend to save power when moving between areas as you tend to let go. Moreover, you will be surprised how much ground you can cover with a cleaner when you set out at a brisk pace.
Massive houses with lots of rooms? Probably not if you want to clean them all in one session. Split the task up into smaller bite-sized (well, battery-power sized) chunks, and it’s still quite possible that the Cyclone V10 will be the only cleaner you need.
Oh, how we fondly recall the sound of the original V6. It was like being at the end of a runway with a Boeing 737 revving up for take-off. It was an aggressive high-pitched whine too. The V8 and subsequently V7 took that issue to task with internal noise baffles and sound deadening.
The V10 builds on that tech and, on suction modes 1 and 2, is relatively peaceful. At 1m from a naked cleaner, we measured around 72-73dB on mode 1 and 75-76db in mode 2. That compares similarly with current mains powered cleaners.
Max mode is a different story. Fire up the V10 on its highest setting, and the noise jumps up to very noticeable 84dB. For comparison, we re-tested a V8 on Max mode in the same room at the same distance, and it measured around 79-80dB. Although, as the V8 has only two power settings, its Max setting is closer to the Cyclone V10’s mode 2.
On the V10’s lower power modes you could get away with stealth cleaning. On the Max setting, it’s noisy, even if the tone of the noise is far less aggressive than the jet-engine whine of the original V6.
We assumed that the V10’s suction mode 1 setting was a bit of a headline marketing exercise. No cordless cleaner can produce decent suction power for over an hour from a single charge, can it?
Well, actually no, not yet but the V10 gets close. More importantly, though, combined with the excellent motorised floorheads, cleaning results on this lowest setting were very good indeed. Our very first hard floor test with the soft roller head was in this lowest power setting. In just one pass it picked up more grains of oats than many mains powered cleaners we’ve tested.
If there was a slight weakness with the lower suction power it was some particles were flicked in front of the head. We are only talking half a dozen oat particles from a huge spill mind you. Smaller dust and debris were not affected.
The soft roller went onto to an outstanding job with fine dust that can often stick down to hard surfaces and resist normal brushes. Unless you have a really tough hard floor cleaning job, suction mode 1 is ample!
Switching to the Direct Drive head and moving to suction mode 2 produced the same excellent cleaning result minus any flicked particles. This head’s mixed bristles combine stiffer nylon fibres and soft, static carbon fibres that together clean hard surfaces very effectively. We would opt for the soft roller head on polished wood floors, but for robust surfaces like tiles and laminate, the Direct Drive head is outstanding.
Moving to carpeted surfaces, the Direct Drive floorhead steers with consummate ease. There is a little extra resistance through suction stick down but only if you use the Max power mode. On the lower power modes, it glides around and goes where you point it. Both main heads are nicely low and there is plenty of articulation in the necks to get under low furniture too.
Once again, we were pleasantly surprised at the pick-up on the lowest power suction mode 1. This is almost entirely due to the motorised floorhead design which all but picks up the dirt and throws it into the slightly asthmatic air stream. If you cleaned regularly and didn’t have kids, dogs or wildebeest roaming the house, you have got nearly an hours’ worth of passable carpet cleaning in this format.
Stepping up to suction mode 2 with the Direct Drive head, we undertook our standard carpet test. A mix of talc, baking powder and carpet cleaning powder is spread on red carpet up to the skirting edge. The cleaner gets two complete forward/reverse passes to do its thing.
We were not disappointed at the result. Most of the powder was picked up with only a few heavier grains left in the pile. Cleaning was comfortably right up to the skirting edge and deep into the carpet dip over the gripper. Another couple of passes and it was fully clean.
Punching the power up to Max mode frankly wasn’t necessary. The clean on suction mode 2 was as good if not better than the previous cleaner we tested, the Shark NV801UKT. That has a cord and a mains-powered motor. If you do venture towards full-gas, you get even deeper dust and grain collection from the pile and truly exceptional edge cleaning on any carpet.
Yet, for most cleaning duties, that just isn’t necessary. Suction mode 2 and its whopping 23 mins are plenty for daily cleaning, and the results are better than many mains-powered competitors too. Even before we got to stairs, details and dogs, the V10 had thoroughly blown us away.
Given the effectiveness of suction mode 2 we didn’t bother using the Max mode for pet hair at all. It just wasn’t necessary. On carpets and hard floors alike the V10’s clever heads and solid suction dispatch pet hairs in a single sweep.
On our living room rug, where our collie and lab sit to watch TV most evenings, the largely nylon carpet pile is a proper pet hair magnet. It gets a good covering of long soft collie hair and short stiff and oily Labrador bristles almost every day. That proved to be frankly no challenge at all for the V10.
With a single forward back sweep, the cleaning results were truly outstanding with not a single hair left in the cleaned zone. It usually takes a very good mains-cleaner or a V-series on Max power to achieve that. The V10 does it comfortably on its mid power setting and is remarkably easy to push, pull and manoeuvre while you clean.
Switching to the Mini Motorised tool, we went straight to the dogs’ beds. Having tried this tool before the ease of use and results were no surprise. On the lowest power mode, the head still does a good job of picking up hairs without sucking in the baggy fabric material.
For upholstery with tightly fitting covers, we ramped the power up to suction mode 2 with very good effect. The smaller tool concentrates the suction effectively and the bristles dislodge all but the most entwined pet hairs. So that’s the V10 ticking the pet home box as well then.
We thought the change of shape and more bulbous front end might make the V10 a little more unwieldy on stairs. Compared directly with a V7 it was certainly bigger but not onerously so.
Using the Mini motorised tool again, the angle that its floorplate hits the step carpet means the leading edge of the bin is comfortably clear of the surface. Suction mode 2 was the setting of choice here, combining outstanding stair carpet cleaning with excellent run time.
On stairs with hard surfaces, you can use either the soft dusting brush or the pull-down brush. If you need a little more cleaning power and buffing action, and have straight steps, the soft roller floor head will attache directly to the cleaner. It’s a little hefty but very effective.
The V10 is, of course, cordless. There are no cables to stop your progress or trip you up. As vacuum cleaners for homes with stairs go, it doesn’t get better than this.
Should you buy the Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute?
Last year, we got really excited about Dyson’s V8 and the V10 has eclipsed even that superb cordless model. The V10 is stupendously powerful, superbly designed and delivers outstanding cleaning on any surface. Where this new model really stands out is how much run time you get at this prodigious level of cleaning power. In suction mode 2, with a motorised tool attached, we got over 23 minutes of cleaning performance that was up there with, or eclipsed, many mains-powered vacuums. Switch to Max mode and you get genuine deep-down carpet cleaning. We would still like the option of a swappable battery, but the V10 is the first cordless cleaner that can genuinely replace a mains cleaner in most homes.
The bigger question now is should you buy the Dyson V10 or spend more on the newer Dyson V11 model? In the V11’s favour, it’s a refined and even more powerful version of the V10. Its stand-out feature for the Absolute model is the High Torque cleaner head With Dynamic Load Sensor (DLS) technology. This lets the V11 automatically adjust power by sensing the type of flooring it’s on, maximising battery life and performance. It works brilliantly, too, although you can still manually override the power setting if you need a bit of a boost.
The cheaper Animal version doesn’t have the High Torque cleaner head, but delivers more suction than the V10. All models of the V11 have the innovative display at the rear of the vacuum cleaner that shows you live battery life and even instructional videos on how to fix common problems.
Yet, for all the advancement that the V11 shows, the Absolute model is £150 more expensive than the V10. Is it worth the extra cash? To some, yes. In particular, if you’ve got a larger house and want to get the most out of your vacuum cleaner’s battery, then it’s a better product.
For all that, there’s nothing to take away from the V10’s prowess. At the time of review, it was the first cordless cleaner that could replace a plug-in model; today, it can still replace a plug-in model. If you want to go completely cordless at a more sensible price, then the V10 is still a great vacuum cleaner with plenty to offer but check out our other cordless vacuum cleaner recommendations for alternative choices.